Everyone notices when the elevators are out of service. With so many factors contributing to an elevator’s function — mechanics, maintenance, frequency of use, etc. — it is imperative to evaluate the safety of the unit regularly. This is not only to ensure the wellbeing of those using the elevator and working on and around it, but also to prevent authorities from shutting down elevators due to repeat issues and standards not being met. As an owner, building manager or project manager, here are the four things you need to know about the basics of elevator safety.
Preventative Measures – What You Can do to Ensure Elevator Safety
- Keep Thorough Records: Safety frequently comes down to one preventative measure: documentation. Keep your own detailed records about the service work and maintenance that your elevator service company carries out. Thorough record keeping helps to ensure that the technician performs all the required maintenance and keeps track of any issues, large or small, that you are informed of by the technician. Awareness of these problems enables you to make decisions proactively.
- Use Your Senses: Elevator technicians are the experts, but you know your elevator very well; you and the people in your building are typically the ones who uses it every day. Something as simple as using all of your senses can help you identify if something is “off” with the unit. Feel for ride quality when you are on the elevator. Check for any new or different smells, visually look at the elevator level and buttons, or sounds. If you identify any drastic changes, you may have discovered the issue early enough to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem.
- Conduct Assessment & Safety Inspections: Every elevator is different, with different uses, use frequency, and varying passenger loads. In larger buildings, safety evaluations are required daily. One way to ensure completion of these checks is to assign various tasks to different members of the building’s maintenance staff. This way, each member of the maintenance team becomes an expert in his or her assigned task and there is also an increased level of accountability for the elevator’s safety.
- Inform the Right Parties: In the event of a safety issue or stoppage, you must inform certain parties. These are: your regional governing authorities or authorities having jurisdiction (who will log the issue and may send an investigator) and your elevator service provider (who will carry out the repairs). Keep track of service calls and safety issues. Regular service, maintenance, and elevator safety evaluation can help reduce the number of safety issues, meaning fewer calls for repair or inspection.
Elevators which are used less frequently may require fewer assessment checks. For an elevator in a medium sized building (e.g. more than four floors but fewer than 12) assessment evaluations should be completed on a weekly basis. Elevators in low-rise buildings (e.g. three floors or fewer) should be checked monthly or even quarterly.
In The Event of a Safety Concern…
Building owners and managers are responsible for the safety of their elevators. With thorough record keeping, keen attention to detail, and performing regular safety evaluations, you can prevent or reduce the number of safety issues, which keeps your costs down, your elevators running smoothly, and most importantly, the elevators passengers safe.